TD Athletes Edge

Discover Your Edge (TM)

  • Quick Links:

  • Advertisements
  • basketball
  • baseball
  • soccer
  • softball

Primitive Patterns

Posted by tdifranc on July 12, 2011

"when do I start rolling?"

What do a 14 year old baseball player, a 20 year old college basketball player, a 30 year old MMA athlete, a 45 year old weekend warrior, and a 60 year old former workout warrior have in common??? They all train at TD Athletes Edge and they all have benefited from what we call primitive pattern training.

Primitive pattern training is probably the most important piece to our system at TD Athletes Edge. Life has become crazy and it allows/requires us to spend a lot of time sitting or avoiding strenuous activity. Lets look at a snapshot of the daily routines of some of the different clients we see:

14 year old baseball player: Get up in the morning; go to school with a big heavy backpack in a slouched posture while texting; sit in class at school; get picked up by mom/dad and sit in traffic to go to their baseball game; sit on the bench in between innings of the game; get back in the car to go home; have dinner while slumped on the couch watching TV; go to bed; do it again the next day.
45 year old weekend warrior: Get up in the morning; grab the kids and drop them off at school while sitting in the car; sit more in the car on the way to work; get to work and sit in meetings/at a desk for 8 hours; get back in the car to sit in traffic; pick up the kids to bring them to their practices; hop on a bike so they can sit while getting exercise for 20-40 miles; get off of the bike and sit down for dinner; sit and watch the evening news in a slumped posture; go to bed; do it again the next day.
Anyone see a pattern here…anyone see something that sounds familiar?

Through no fault of anyone in particular we live in a society where we sit on our butts (even when we exercise) and do NOT do a lot of good old fashioned hard work. Here’s what happens when we sit a lot and avoid hard work:
– our glutes get weak
– our core shuts down
– our hamstrings, hip flexors, piriformis, achilles, pecs, traps get tight
– we get sore backs, hips, knees, and shoulders

how are this cat's glutes & core doing?

These imbalances were originally identified and described by Dr. Vladimir Janda aka the “Father of Czech Rehabilitation”. He referred to this as Crossed Pelvis Syndrome. It can manifest in the upper body, lower body or both (layered).
Dr. Stuart McGill discusses this in his book titled Low Back Disorders. He explains that in his extensive investigation of low back disorders he has discovered that these patterns tend to be present in one form or another. Both experts explained that over time non-use and poor posture results in certain muscles becoming weak. In an effort to balance this weakness opposing muscles become tight. This turns into a recipe for disaster and helps to stimulate unnecessary non-contact injury development. McGill explains that people who have developed a version of Crossed Syndrome find it impossible to activate the core/glutes even when they are doing something that focuses on the core/glutes like a squat or a dead lift!

So what are we supposed to do about this??? That is where primitive pattern training comes in! Primitive patterning is taking the body back to patterns that it has not performed since it was 2,4,6…months old. This approach takes the body out of the tight/weak patterns it gets stuck in and reboots the system. As a baby develops from the head and neck down the body systematically fires the appropriate muscle groups at just the right times to create the developmental stages that we take for granted. In other words babies want to move and in order to do that it needs an efficient core with good mobility around it.

First the head and neck develop strength, then the obliques and other primitive core musculature. The next thing you know they go from rolling, to crawling, to kneeling and finally to standing. Why is a 4 month old baby’s core more effective and efficient than yours or mine? Simple: because they want to move and we don’t. We spend our days figuring out how we can avoid movement (anyone else ever realize you passed on 40 open parking spots to get 20 feet closer to the door of the gym or the mall?).

Babies roll, crawl, kneel, and do their own versions of TGU’s because this is all they can do but they also know it is the only way to stimulate development and avoid imbalances like upper, lower, or layered crossed syndrome. Maybe we should take a few pages out of their books more often! Ask any client at TDAE and they will tell you that wherever they are at currently they started at the primitive level. Here are a few examples:


McGill, S. Low Back Disorders. Champagne, IL Human Kinetics, 2007.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: